|"The spirits must stop fighting the humans and return to their home in the Spirit World. I will teach men to respect the spirits so that balance will be maintained. I will be the bridge between our two worlds."|
"Beginnings, Part 2" is the eighth episode of Book Two: Spirits of The Legend of Korra and the 20th episode of the overall series. It was aired on October 12, 2013, for select cosplayers chosen among the attendees of the The Legend of Korra panel at the New York Comic-Con and premiered on Nickelodeon alongside "Beginnings, Part 1" on October 18, 2013.
Wan's spiritual reflection shows Korra how he learned the other three elements and the reason why he eventually merged with Raava and became the first Avatar. His story makes Korra realize what she must do to restore balance to the physical and spirit worlds.
Korra, still submerged in the subterranean pool of spirit water, becomes the topic of discussion as a Bhanti man questions if she should be pulled up, to which the shaman responds that she is connecting with her deepest Avatar memories and that she must confront her own past if she is to move forward. Korra returns her attention to Wan's story, where he is debating with Raava about human interference in spiritual matters. Although Wan offers his help to the light spirit in finding Vaatu before it is too late to prevent the annihilation of both humans and spirits, an already furious Raava rejects the offer and flies off after she warns the firebender not to interfere with her again, which leaves a dejected Wan to move on with Mula.
Later, Wan discovers some people with the ability to airbend and is thrilled to see other humans for the first time in two years. Frightened, the airbenders flee and Wan tries to follow them until he approaches a cliff which he cannot traverse. He notices one airbender running toward him, but is surprised when he sees the man floating toward a lion turtle that is levitating in the air. After Wan witnesses the creature taking away the element from the people upon their return from the forest, Wan makes his way onto the lion turtle by catapulting himself toward it from a small tree. As he walks into a village, he eagerly introduces himself to the confused people. Before Wan can tell them his story, however, Vaatu arrives and gains control of the spirits in the village, which begin terrorizing the inhabitants. He reveals his own presence, to which the villagers question on Raava's absence. Wan tries to fend off the spirits with firebending before the light spirit arrives, knocking Vaatu down and driving away the dark spirits. She and Vaatu acknowledge each other and, after gloating how he would destroy her at Harmonic Convergence, flees with the dark spirits. Confused, the people ask Raava why the spirits attacked to which she replies that Wan should tell them. Pushed by the spirit, he explains himself, wishing he can undo his mistake. Raava warns the firebender that every time Vaatu gains power, her strength wanes, threatening to cover the world in darkness. Wan resolves to beat Vaatu by asking the lion turtle to grant him the power of air. Though the creature is initially hesitant, as no human has ever been able to bend more than one element at the same time, he finally relents after seeing Wan's determination to revert the damage he has done. However, Raava will have to hold the power until he masters it, leading to the light spirit questioning why she should aid the very human who caused this mess in the first place. When Wan reasons that neither of them can defeat Vaatu alone, as only together they have a chance, Raava reluctantly agrees to help.
As they set off to master airbending, Raava explains that Harmonic Convergence is an event in which she and Vaatu battle for the fate of the world. With only a year to prepare, they combine their energies via Raava passing through Wan's body, granting him airbending after more firebending training. As Wan practices with the element, he asks Raava why she and Vaatu have not destroyed one another after ten thousand years. The light spirit explains that light and darkness cannot exist without each other; even if she was to defeat Vaatu in this encounter, darkness would grow inside her until her counterpart emerges and vice versa. Since Wan believes that it is not disastrous if Vaatu wins due to Raava eventually being reborn, the light spirit points out that Vaatu intends to destroy the entire world, plunging it into darkness for ten thousand years until her rebirth. Realizing what is at stake, Wan decides to seek out more lion turtles in order to receive more elements. After being granted waterbending and earthbending, Wan asks Raava why humans and spirits are in conflict, to which she responds that ever since spirits entered the mortal realm, humans have been forced to live separately under the protection of the lion turtles, building settlements on their backs. She further says that most humans think only of themselves, regardless of how many others are around.
Near the end of the year, after training with air and earth, Wan and Raava find a ravaged section of a forest and he recognizes his friend Jaya among the people present. Jaya reveals that Wan's survival in the Spirit Wilds inspired them to leave the lion turtle they lived on and try their luck. Wan asks whether Yao came with them aw well, which Jaya confirmed, though he finished by saying that Yao and many others from their group had died. Jaya inquires as to why Wan defended Raava after one of the men there launched a flame toward her. Wan proceeds to introduce her, assuring them that she is not like the dark spirits they encountered. However, Jaya rhetorically asks what the difference between spirits is as they fight any they see. Raava admonishes them for the rash behavior, stating that it would only exacerbate the situation. Suddenly, a crowd of spirits, some of whom Wan recognizes from the oasis, including the aye-aye spirit, arrive to drive out the humans for burning down their forest. Wan attempts to mediate the conflict, but Vaatu appears, corrupting the spirits and feeding off their anger. The humans, led by Jaya, provoke the dark spirits with firebending, but Wan keeps both groups from clashing with airbending. He and Raava subsequently combine their energies to stop the battle, allowing the young man to bend all four elements. The fighting briefly stops and the spirits turn to normal while the humans are surprised by the extraordinary feat. The strain of Raava possessing him is too much, causing him to pass out. Raava carries an unconscious Wan away as the battle reignites. When Wan comes to, Vaatu appears, having grown larger and revealing that all the humans have been annihilated. The dark spirit promptly departs, promising that the end will come soon.
Raava, in a severely weakened state, asks Wan to travel to the Southern portal for the convergence. Raava tells Wan that she was wrong about humans, not knowing they had such nobility and courage as Wan prompts her not to give up. In the final battle, Wan attempts to fight Vaatu with his bending powers. Despite his efforts, he is extremely outmatched by the dark spirit. Wan is severely beaten despite his bending abilities and fusing with Raava. They fight once again, with his efforts more successful. Though her presence puts a great strain on his body with the possibility of death, Wan refuses to give up. As the convergence begins, Wan, in a desperate gamble, touches the Southern portal, absorbing the spiritual energy, and permanently fusing his energy and essence with Raava, thus creating the Avatar Spirit. After beating Vaatu back and imprisoning him inside the Tree of Time with the use of all four elements, Wan makes it his mission to bring peace to the world while acting as the bridge between spirits and humans to avoid another disaster. To do so, he has all of the spirits leave the physical world and return to the Spirit World, at which point he closes the spirit portal to ensure that no human would be able to physically enter the Spirit World and release the dark spirit.
The lion turtles declare that the world had entered a new age and decide to renounce their position as protectors of humanity and will no longer grant humans bending. Wars between cultures of respective bending elements ignite and Wan attempts to mediate them. Many years later, an elderly, dying Wan sits against a large earth coin, amidst a war-torn battlefield. He apologizes to Raava for failing to bring peace and balance to the world and laments that despite all his best efforts, chaos and destruction still exist in the world, even with Vaatu locked away. Raava comforts him and tells him that she will always be with him for all his lifetimes and that they would never give up. As Wan exhales his last breath, a golden light exits his body and disintegrates in little sparks. As the scene fades to white, his newborn reincarnation is heard crying and Korra's vision ends.
Korra opens her eyes while in the Avatar State and shoots up, gasping for air as the glow subsides. The elderly shaman asks her who she is. Korra replies, saying her name is Korra and that she is the Avatar. The shaman takes Korra outside to a herd of flying bison that were saved since the Hundred Year War, musing over the fact that she never thought she would be able to offer one to the Avatar. When Korra wonders how long she has been out, the shaman cannot answer her, though urges her to take action as the Harmonic Convergence will be upon them in just a few weeks. Determined, Korra states that she has to close the spirit portal before the celestial event occurs. Taking one of the sky bison, she leaves the island.
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- Main article: Transcript:Beginnings, Part 2
- Main article: Transcript:Beginnings, Part 2 (commentary)
- The whale spirit in the group that fights Jaya and the other humans first appeared in "Beginnings, Part 1" as one of the spirits fleeing from Raava and Vaatu's fight. A whale spirit also appears when Korra and Jinora enter the Spirit World in "A New Spiritual Age".
- The earth coin battlefield where Wan dies is the same battlefield Zuko rides through in "Zuko Alone".
- This is second time that the Avatar has been warned about an upcoming event that determines the fate of the world. The first was when Avatar Roku warned Aang about Sozin's Comet in "Winter Solstice, Part 2: Avatar Roku".
- Throughout the fight between Wan and Vaatu, the contours of the details of Vaatu's "head" change back and forth between two different designs.
- Before confronting Vaatu, Wan places his teapot onto Mula's back without fastening it, but when Raava flies out of it, it is strapped down to the cat deer.
- After Vaatu tells Wan to "prepare to face oblivion", he turns purple upon firing an energy beam. However, when the shot changes to show Wan fleeing, Vaatu has his normal color scheme, despite the energy beam still being fired.
- When the spirits are departing for the Spirit World, the second closest queue of spirits is not moving during the wideshot.
- The people living atop the air lion turtle bear tattoos that looked similar to those later bestowed upon master airbenders.
- The peaceful interactions between spirits and the people living on the air lion turtle was a late addition in the episode's writing process.
- The rock formations dotting the area in which the earth lion turtle lives bear a resemblance to Monument Valley.
- The order in which Wan and Raava received the ability to bend additional elements establishes the order of the Avatar Cycle: fire, air, water, and earth.
- Wan's training with Raava initially involved learning how to control two elements at the same time.
- The scene where Wan and Raava notice a burning smell is similar to a scene in Princess Mononoke where San and Moro notice a burning smell. Both result in a standoff between humans and spirits.
- When Wan fights Vaatu after permanently merging with Raava, "Aang's Theme" from the original series can be heard in the background.
- When Wan permanently merged his essence with Raava, beams of white light shot out of his eyes and mouth. This was similar to when Aang energybent Phoenix King Ozai in "Sozin's Comet, Part 4: Avatar Aang".
- Just like Avatar Roku's origin story, Avatar Wan's story ends with the crying of a baby, signaling the birth of the next Avatar following his death.
- The flying bison Korra mounts is missing the tip of one of its horns.
- In an early version of this episode, Wan was washed down the waterfall before finding the Air Nomads. However, this scene was cut due to the episode becoming too long.
- WHAT AN AMAZING EVENING!. Korranation (October 12, 2013). Retrieved on October 13, 2013.
- The Legend of Korra—The Art of the Animated Series, Book Two: Spirits, page 110.
- DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Zuckerman, Jeremy & Wynn, Benjamin (July 1, 2014). "Beginnings, Part 2" commentary. Book Two: Spirits Blu-ray.